Animated African adventure proves sequels can equal success

Most people fear the sequel. And in most cases, they are right to do so. But that was until DreamWorks Animation came along.

Home of the Shrek empire and this year’s hit film Kung Fu Panda (whose sequel is in the works ), DreamWorks has once again managed to prove that there is hope for success in sequels with their newest venture Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, the much anticipated follow-up to their 2005 smash hit.

If you had the pleasure of seeing the hilariously funny comedy a few years back you will remember that the film ended with the four American zoo-reared stars on a plane back to New York from Madagascar where they were unexpectedly shipwrecked en route back to their homeland of Africa. However, we quickly learn that the group didn’t quite make it back to their old stomping ground when their plane crash lands on the African plains.

Once again the fish-out-of-water, the group hilariously attempts to navigate their way through the wild before coming across a real lion pride that includes Alex’s (Ben Stiller ) long-lost parents from whom he was kidnapped as a cub. A fight for the position of Alpha Lion ensues, a love triangle emerges, and fate of Africa’s wildlife is saved...and all this amongst a flurry of laugh-out-loud gags, over-the-top singing, and manic dancing. Not bad for 99 minutes.

Also starring Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter, Alec Baldwin, will.i.am, Sherri Shepherd, and the late Bernie Mac, kudos must go out to Borat’s Sasha Baron Cohen who manages to, once again, steal the show as the hilarious King Julien the Thirteenth, the self-proclaimed Lord of the Lemurs.

Admittedly the film doesn’t stray very much from its original format other than a few new characters and a couple new jokes, and it will also undergo countless comparisons to Disney’s The Lion King, which it will unfortunately never even come close to. But somehow Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa still works as a sweet and endearing (albeit predictable ) story that will be loved by both young and old, and is definitely this Christmas’ family must-see.

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